Innocent Drinks founder Richard Reed on the importance of quality [Video]

Richard Reed explains that his product stood out from the competition through quality alone.

Innocent Drinks prides itself on its healthy, preservative-free smoothies and it’s this high-quality focus that, as Innocent co-founder Richard Reed explains, has been key to the brand from day one and has been central to its success.

Sharing the Innocent team’s initial struggle to raise investment on the back of their business plan, Reed says that the he and founders Adam Balon, and Jon Wright, didn’t know how they were going to manufacture, they didn’t have product, and didn’t even have a name. Reed explains how time and time again investors questioned the trio’s business plans, telling them “you’re not going to have a competitive advantage.”

Reed expands: “[They said] you’re up against Pepsi Co. who own the Tropicana brand, you’re up against supermarket own labels, how the hell are you going to compete with them? It’s just not going to work guys, you don’t have a way to beat them.”

Yet the smoothie entrepreneurs remained confident. Why? Because Innocent “had a very simple way of being better than the next guy – by being of benefit to our consumer”.  Advising budding entrepreneurs on their business strategy, Reed continues “strategy is about understanding how you’re going to do a better job for your customer than the next guy and for us it was […that] we were gonna make smoothies naturally.”

Although the idea of fruit smoothies was not a new one, Reed says that Innocent had a competitive edge because everyone else in the market at that time “was using conservatives, flavourings and all that all that other sort of weirdness”. These ingredients, Reed declares, “made things convenient for the manufacturer and more profitable but didn’t make things good for the consumer.”

Instead, the Innocent co-founders’ thinking was to take their method of making smoothies at home in a blender and scaling it to create “something that’s better tasting and more nutritious”. An idea which Reed was confident that “if they could possibly find a way to make, would beat the other things on the shelves”.

Reed’s final piece of advice on evaluating a business idea? “You’ve got to have that simple insight of how you’re going to beat the next guy to have a viable business.”

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